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Summary of the April/May 2003 commissioning runs

01 July 2003


After a 3 months rework at HIA and at Gemini (December-February 2002), Altair was back on the sky for 2 successful commissioning runs in April and May. The integration with the telescope, TCS and sequexec is basically completed. The system is now robust and has a high level of automation. Altair now achieves 55 to 85 milliarcsec images for seeing below 0.9 arcsec.

Summary of the November/December 2002 commissioning runs

29 January 2003, updated 3 March 2003


Altair arrived at Gemini on October 14, 2002. It went through two commissioning runs in November and December, and commissioning is proceeding well. A number of problems were encountered; most of them have been identified and fixed, or are in the process of being fixed. Strehl ratios of up to 55% with FWHM of 61mas were obtained in K band in the best conditions. The next commissioning runs are planned for April and May.

Gemini's Impact on Deep Impact

At Gemini the night of July 4th, 2005 was filled with fireworks, both earthly and celestial. In support of NASA’s Deep Impact (DI) mission two teams of scientists used the Gemini mid-infrared instruments MICHELLE and T-ReCS to acquire imaging and spectroscopic observations of Comet Tempel 1 throughout the impact event. At Gemini South a team led by David Osip (Carnegie Inst.) and James De Buizer (Gemini) used T-ReCS to image the impact and the resulting dust plume (Figure 1).

Announcement to NIRI Users in Semester 2001A and 2001B

Matt Mountain, Director

During our initial acceptance tests of NIRI on Gemini North, it was found that NIRI exhibited "flexure", or image motion instability problems that were far larger than expected and outside the original NIRI science requirements. The University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy (IfA), which is responsible for NIRI, has tried a number of measures to correct this problem. The image motion is caused by a poorly operating cryogenic bearing on the steering mirrors that select cameras within the NIRI cryostat.

Progress with NIRI during semester 2001B

30 Jan 2002

The 2001B semester has come to a close. Although no science observations could be completed, we have made progress towards our goal of starting regular science operations with NIRI.